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Food System Primer

Food System Primer

Bite-sized introductions to big ideas about the food system

Developed by leading experts and educators at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, the Primer offers short, easy-to-digest readings about topics from farm to fork, peppered with anecdotes and images that bring concepts to life. Directories of articles, reports, lesson plans, and other resources help food system scholars dig deeper into the issues.

Who is the Primer for?

The Primer is designed for educators, students, journalists, policymakers, researchers, and other engaged citizens seeking information and resources about the food system.

What is the food system?

The food system spans the activities, people, and resources involved in getting food from field to plate, from agriculture through nutrition and beyond. Along the way, it intersects with aspects of public health, culture, society, policy, and the environment.

Why learn about the food system?

Widespread problems such as chronic illness, infectious disease, social inequality, animal suffering, environmental degradation, and the concentration of economic power have ties to the food system. Recognizing these connections can empower people to become not only informed consumers, but also food citizens who can engage in many facets of the food system, from growing their own food to advocating for policies. Now let's get started!

Beyond the Primer: other CLF resources



Free, classroom-ready high school lesson plans, aligned to standards and designed for use with the Food System Primer.

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Food System Textbook

Food System

An in-depth exploration of the U.S. food system, edited by CLF faculty and authored by over 100 food system experts.

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Livable Future Blog


Stories and perspectives from CLF staff, faculty, fellows, students, and partners on the food system front lines.

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